NFL Week 5: T.O. Return to Philadelphia Overshadows All

ESPN senior NFL writer John Clayton's "First and 10" column takes you around the league, with a look at the best game of the week, followed by primers for 10 other games. Here's his look at Week 5 of the 2006 season.

First ... Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

Terrell Owens' return to Philadelphia is the most anticipated scene of the 2006 season.

He helped to take the Eagles to a Super Bowl in 2004. His selfishness helped to rip the team apart in 2005. A former hero to the Eagles fans, Owens is now public enemy No. 1. Owens even jokes that fans will twist his recent hospitalization for a bad reaction of pain medication to "O.D., O.D." cheers.

Yet, the game itself might even exceed the hype. Both teams have emerged as the early front-runners to win pro football's most competitive division. For the Cowboys, it was expected. In the last two years, Bill Parcells has put together one of the most physical, aggressive 3-4 defenses in the league. Despite the loss of Owens, Donovan McNabb has spread the ball to receivers in no-huddle sets and is averaging 312 passing yards a game and leads the league with nine touchdown passes.

Though the focus will be on Owens, who is coming off recent ring finger surgery in his right hand, the pressure is on the Eagles. They haven't won an NFC East game since 2004, losing all six last season and their home opener this season against the Giants after blowing a 17-point second-half lead.

The Eagles' schedule was favorable early with games against the Packers and 49ers, but that just means the Eagles need to start strong in the division because they have one of the toughest closing schedules in the league. Plus, a loss to the Cowboys would mean they would have lost two of their three home NFC East games.

Injuries are a concern for the Eagles. Cornerback Lito Sheppard is trying to come back from an ankle injury that sidelined him the past couple of weeks. Third cornerback Roderick Hood is doubtful with a heel injury. For this game, the Eagles could get by without a top third cornerback because the Cowboys use more two tight end-two receiver sets, but having Sheppard back is vital.

The Eagles receivers are banged up. Donte' Stallworth is doubtful with a hamstring injury and Reggie Brown is questionable with a shoulder injury. If neither can go, McNabb will be without his starting receivers going against a defense that could frustrate a tight-end dominated offense.

Another key injury to follow is to Brian Westbrook, who is considered the X factor in the Philly offense. Eagles coach Andy Reid revealed Tuesday Westbrook has a bone bruise on the knee and that some cartilage might be damaged. The Eagles don't have a bye week until Nov. 5 so it's not as though they could scope the knee and get him back without a missed game.

Reid made Westbrook a last-minute scratch for Monday night's game against the Packers, hoping he could make it to the Cowboys game. So far the swelling is down, which is a good sign. But if he can't play, the Eagles could head into this key matchup understaffed on offense. Which is just what Owens wants to see.

10. Washington Redskins at New York Giants

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